The nightly light-and-sound show at Chichén Itzá was supposed to return in April, but now tourism officials are saying that it will be back in July.
A lightning storm some two years ago put the popular evening attraction out of commission. There have been numerous delays preventing its return, but according to a recent news report, the new show may finally be ready.
Earlier this week Yucatecan tourism officials premiered the new show to 250 travel agents in Cancun at Tianguis Turístico 2014 (Tourist Expo 2014). Yucatan’s state director of tourism, Santiago González Abreu, told the Sipse news service in a telephone interview that the show “generated positive comments.” Unlike the previous show which simply flashed colored lights against the backdrop of the monuments to a spoken narration, this show will include animation projected on the monuments to tell the story of the ancient Maya.
This new show cost 50 million pesos and will premiere at Chichén Itzá in early July.
Video created in 2009 to promote tourism development around Chichen Itza
Five years ago then-governor of Yucatan, Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, described plans for a “Disneyfication” of Chichén Itzá. She envisioned a giant resort, with artificial beaches, golf courses, hotels, and restaurants in the vicinity of the ancient Maya city.
Those plans took a step closer to reality last week with the announcement by the government of Mexico to create three thousand-acre resort complexes next to the archaeological sites of Chichén, Palenque in Chiapas, and Teotihuacan near Mexico City.
The resorts, called Centros Integralmente Planeados (in English, “Integrally Planned Centers,” or CIPs), represent a proposed 8 billion peso investment by the federal government, employing a similar model that resulted in the development of Cancun back in the 1970s. For Chichén Itzá, Mexico is proposing to spend 2.75 billion pesos ($210 million U.S.) to develop an as-yet unidentified parcel or parcels of 1,000 acres.
Details are sparse on exactly what kind of development is proposed at Chichén. The video above suggests a dense resort complex, similar to what one would find in Cancun. But the federal government is describing these new projects as “low density, that is, having a limited number of hotel buildings and other buildings, plus it will be developed based on the available land reserves,” according to a report in the Mexican newspaper Milenio.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto yesterday was in Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state that contains Chichén Itzá, and said his administration was taking action “to consolidate the Mesoamerican heritage,” specifically Chichén. Yucatán’s daily paper of record, the Diario de Yucatán, quoted the president as using the word “consoidar” which not only means to consolidate, but also can mean to fund.
In a recent interview, Martín Gómez Barraza, the director of FONATUR, was asked about the impact of creating and expanding tourist enterprises in areas of national patrimony such as Chichén Itzá. FONATUR, which is celebrating its 40th year, is the quasi-public agency that created Cancun, Los Cabos, and other resort areas, and no doubt will be called upon to develop a resort at Chichén. Gómez Barraza told Razon magazine (Reason) that it is part of the agency’s strategy to diversify tourism in Mexico. “We always rely on government agencies responsible to care for, maintain and preserve our heritage,” he said.
Graphic showing the three major projects proposed by the Mexican government (Milenio)